Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Short-eared Owl at Chorlton Ees

I spent an enjoyable morning on my first ever visit to Chorlton Ees today. An ees is a water meadow or a place liable to flood and this area is so-named because it is part of the River Mersey's floodplain. Following a tip off by Steve Scrimgeour that a Short-eared Owl was in the area, I got some excellent instructions from Gary Edwards via Facebook and found the location much easier to get to than I had previously thought.

After I had parked up around 11am, I soon met Tony Darby on the cobbled road which runs along one side of the rough cow field in which the bird had been seen, and he pointed the areas in which he'd seen it this morning as well as giving me an idea of the layout of the area.  There was a dead tree in the middle of the field and the bird had often been seen in and around it.

After spending a while looking and seeing it only once in the distance when it was chased by two Crows over the tree tops at the back of the field, I decided to move my car and look along a different side of the field. Here I met Tom Dolan and we had a good chat about things until the Owl eventually reappeared only to be chased by Crows high across the field and out of view in the other direction. We also saw a couple of Jays which seemed to be burying nuts in the field and a Common Buzzard also flew over us.

I had a few more views after being joined by Chris Nield and Bill French when the Short-eared Owl was being mobbed by Magpies and whilst I was there spent much of the time just trying to avoid them. At one point it seemed to go down on the ground underneath the tree to do this.

It was also nice to meet everyone (and a few others whose names I did  not get) and this made it another enjoyable experience.  As for the photos, well I'm afraid poor light = high ISO = grainy shots, but hey, what can you do?

Here's link to the Mersey Valley site guide on the Manchester Birding website which includes a basic map of Chorlton Ees : Mersey Valley Site Description

And here's one to the sightings page on the forum: Chorlton Ees sightings

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